Nanny of the Maroons stands out in history as the only female among Jamaica’s
national heroes. She possessed that fierce fighting spirit generally associated with the
courage of men.
In fact, Nanny is described as a fearless Asante warrior who used militarist techniques
to fool and beguile the English.
Nanny was a leader of the Maroons at the beginning of the 18th. Century. She was
known by both the Maroons and the British settlers as an outstanding military leader
who became, in her lifetime and after, a symbol of unity and strength for her people
during times of crisis.
She was a small wiry woman with piercing eyes. Her influence over the Maroons was
so strong that it seemed to be supernatural and was said to be connected to her powers
of obeah. She was particularly skilled in organising the guerrilla warfare carried out by
the Eastern Maroons to keep away the British troops who attempted to penetrate the
mountains to overpower them.
Her cleverness in planning guerrilla warfare confused the British and their accounts of
the fights reflect the surprise and fears which the Maroon traps caused among them.
Beside inspiring her people to ward off troops, Nanny was also a type of chieftainess
or wise woman of the village, who passed down legends and encouraged the
continuation of customs, music and songs that had come with the people from Africa,
and that instilled in them confidence and pride.
Jamaican woman have always shown this strength and pride.